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2 critically burned when hot air balloon comes near Ind. power lines

Three people were injured, two critically when a hot air balloon came near power lines in Lowell

By Mike Stunson
The Charlotte Observer

LOWELL, Ind. — Three people were injured following a “flight emergency” involving a hot air balloon that came crashing to the ground, Indiana officials say.

The hot air balloon was discovered crashed in a bean field around 7 p.m. Sunday, June 2, near Lowell, about 65 miles southeast of Chicago, according to the Lowell Fire Department.

Evidence suggested an electrical current passed through power lines to the basket of the hot air balloon, electrocuting three people on board, officials said.

While firefighters initially said the hot air balloon may have came into contact with a power line, they later told WMAQ it only came close enough to cause the electrical shock.

Video shared on Facebook shows a blue flash as the low-flying hot air balloon neared the power line.

Due to severe burn injuries two passengers sustained, they were flown to Chicago-area hospitals, according to the fire department. They were listed in critical condition, WMAQ reported.

Officials said the pilot was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash and the damage caused to the balloon and basket, according to the fire department.

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